Thursday, September 29, 2011

Knock-Off Companies - Good or Bad?

Ok - a little discussion around something that I'm seeing a lot of lately.   There seems to have been an upsurge in people who are making knock off copies of GW products.   I'm sure many of us have seen the websites that offer "Forgeworld" products for a fraction of the prices of the real thing.    Prices almost too good to be true.  Most of these seem to be from China - who is well known for having little regard for copy right laws or others intellectual properties.

I have heard several views on this.  It's a great deal.  Good products and a great price.  GW price gouges us and is a terrible company to it's loyal customer base.  The list of reasons why it's a good thing goes on and on.   The guys doing this are probably just a few talented folks that want to make a buck, and live in a dirt poor part of the world.

But I am concerned about what the impact of this is on the people who make our games.  Let's say it's GW- my personal favorite.   Games Workshop is in business to make money.  Period.  I'm sure they love games and gamers - are probably gamers themselves - and aren't out to "exploit" their fanbase.  But they company has to make money.  No money - no reason to be in business - no hobby for us to play.   They invest a lot of money in their intellectual property.   Let's face it - almost no other company has the pagentry and story lines that the Games Workshop universe offers.   How many total Black Library books have they published to date.   Their investment in their products is far from insignificant.

So to me it seems unfair that they have no way of protecting this with the bootleggers.   I personally think it is wrong for the knockoffs.   At the end of the day though - they stay in business because we - the gaming community-support them.   We look at the short term that we get to save a couple bucks - and forget the long term that the company that is REALLY making the product - has to make money to keep making the product.

As gamers, we have to make our choices on where we get our stuff.  I try to support the local stores as much as possible.  Without them I don't have a place to play and a distributor of the stuff I want to buy.   That's my personal choice.   I encourage each of us to think about the impacts of where we spend our hobby dollars beyond just the best deal you can get.



War Frog said...

I think that the knock-off companies are an indicator of the health of the hobby and the gross overpricing we enthusiasts are experiencing. If models were reasonably priced then the knock off companies would move on to different product to copy that would let them make more money. The fact that these guys can exist speaks volumes about the hobby and the demand for the models. When these guys are making a Tyranid FW model for $68US delivered, vs $167US from Forgeworld it makes it hard to accept the price that FW offers us. I am not saying to buy the knockoff, I am saying that FW is grossly overcharging.

Bikeninja said...

In todays economy hobbies become harder and harder to invest in. But somehow we find a way. I llok at this discussion as I do the support your game store vs. the internet. Each person has to weigh what they do and how much money they spend. I don't knock someone who buys second hand from the internet when so they can play because that is all they can afford. I work hard (as most do) for what I have and I buy legit when I can but some deals are to good to pass on.

Kris said...

To be fair GWS are forcing these bootleggers into existance with exorbitant pricing. Lots of people love warhammer and would love to collect and play, many can't afford too.

Local shops have also lost most gaming space while gws invest in rubbish like dreadfulfleet. I honestly benefit very little from stores because they are retail shops not hobby stores that support a large community and active gaming. One man stores are great to reduce costs but fail in every other respect... my local store is closed sundays so you can't even go in for a game the one day all people are free.

I buy 30% in store 70% online, but am hoping another gaming system starts being played locally so I can switch. Realistically the bootleggers are supporting the hobby as much as gws. After all if no one can afford it then the hobby dies.

Gws also destroyed alot of communities protecting their IP, its ironic they drove away huge fans and investors yet now chinese bootleggers can ignore the IP sqawking. In fact they have used their IP to destroy competition and small independents alike.

Its absolute justice.

Black Blow Fly said...

I have bought one dreadnaught twin linked autocannon from a Chinese company. At the time I was participating in Ard Boyz with GK and Forgeworld was sold out. The quality was better than Forgeworld, I paid extra for express shipping and the bit arrived in a week. I don't like to support pirating but this was an instance where I did due to my situation. It's what it is.